Again it’s the time of year when all the fitness fanatics clamour through the world’s department stores to find that perfect seasonal gift for their favourite fitness instructor. They ruthlessly search the shelves to find those items without which instructors simply can’t do.

Over the years I’ve been the recipient of several items that my grateful participants have thoughtfully selected for me. They gift-wrapped them and placed them in my gym bag on the last day of class before Christmas. These gifts include:

  • Several types of exotic chocolate bars that never make it to my Christmas bush. I munch then on the way home.
  • Aerobics tapes featuring special Xmas music. I suppose the givers think I’ll to play them in my class. I never do. People get enough Xmas music in public places such as shopping malls. I’ll stick to the Spice Girls, thank you very much.
  • Sweat socks. I like these – but I usually get women’s low cut sweat socks with stylish pom-poms on the ankle band.
  • Several bars of soap, and one stick of deodorant. I suppose some people think I get a little ripe between classes.
  • One bar of compacted bath salts that I thought was white chocolate. On my way home, I performed a hygienic indiscretion out my car window. I know that police officer still talks about it over coffee.

I don’t mean to sound ungrateful. I like gifts as much as the next person. The problem is that most of the items fitness instructors really could use have still need inventing. In the interests of helping fitness participants everywhere make wise decisions, I present four items guaranteed to enhance the lives of instructors. Unfortunately, you won’t find them in stores this year. Someone has to invent them. I’m making someone rich.

1. The Non-Tip Water Bottle.

When I teach, I like to roam among the participants. I want to make sure everyone is receiving their quota of exercise jubilation. I want to check that nobody has their heels dangling over the edges of their steps. What the heck. . . . I may as well come clean. I like to take a little break.

Nearly every time I take one of these constitutionals, I kick over somebody’s water bottle. This means I spend twenty beats of a thirty-two beat phrase chasing a runaway bottle around the gym. I envision a water bottle with a big suction cup on the bottom. That way the bottle stays in place when the instructor comes to kick.

This would also solve the problem I have in the washroom at Hastings Community Centre. Before my class, I turn the water on full bore to get rid of the water that stagnates in the building pipes. I like to drink the water that stagnates in the outdoor pipes. By the time I have my shorts on, the water is cool. I return to the sink to find my bottle bobbing in the urinal.

2. The Truly Automatic Washer.

Every instructor knows the Mike’s Third Law of Aerobics: After every class there is laundry. Now that there are so few Spandex shorts manufactured for men, this axiom is especially true. We have to take special care of our shorts because we never know where we’ll get that next pair. We take better care of our shorts than our bodies.

I envision a small drum of soapy water that would attach to the hub of the left front automobile wheel. Just load the drum with water, soap and laundry and drive your way to cleanliness. Pull the plug in a MacDonald’s drive-through, and spin-dry on the freeway, splattering lint on all the windshields.

3. The Movement Alarm.

My newest bad habit happens when I have two classes to teach within a half hour where fifteen minutes of that half hour involves travel. This means a quick change is necessary. Three times this year a squadron of 12 – 15-year – old female gymnasts caught me with my Spandex shorts around my knees and a silly grin on my face. I need a gadget that can detect the little snappers coming. This may not keep me out of jail, but it will give me enough time to strike a good pose.

But as I mentioned, these items aren’t even on the drawing board. This means I’ll be flossing those bits of bath salts from between my teeth for another year.

Mike Broderick is an Employment Specialist for the Neil Squire Society in Burnaby where he finds employment for people with physical disabilities. Part of this work means affiliation with the Vancouver Board of Trade where he is a member of the Ambassador Club, the Burnaby Board of Trade where he is a member of the Labour Task Force, the Tri Cities Chamber of Commerce where he is an active member of the 10X10 initiative, and the Abbotsford Chamber of Commerce. He does some work as a field Archaeologist and is a fitness instructor and frequent contributor of fitness humour articles to alive magazine in Port Coquitlam. You can reach him at home at or at If you’re looking for a career change, he is the Spin Doctor and can give you a resume makeover at competitive rates When he is not doing all this he lives in Port Coquitlam with his partner Cecelia.



  1. Sharon Says:

    Funny, Mike. Don’t you go into the little boys’ room to change your shorts? Love the idea of your car washer/dryer. I could use that when I drive home from Busch Gardens. Of course, I need to remember to go through one of the water rides first.

  2. Jody Worsham Says:

    You need to issue those hats with the beer cans on them and a plastic tube leading to the mouth only use water bottles. When newly married, we went to the lake every weekend in the summer. Doing laundry consisted of swimming in the lake at night, then hopping in the boat and driving up and down the lake with “laundry” flying from a ski rope.

  3. Jody Worsham Says:

    Why does my comment say posted at 12:40 a.m. when my clock says 6:41? Are you in your own time zone?

  4. Jeanne Kraus Says:

    The truly automatic washer is my kind of thing. You don’t have to be a fitness instructor to appreciate that. When George retired at home I thought he would be my automatic washer. It turns out that he is the automatic throw the clothes in the washer, leaving the automatic, drying folding, hanging and putting away to me.

  5. Mike Broderick Says:

    Is that what I have to look forward to in retirement?

  6. joseph Says:


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